Are you also looking for the answer of how long do central air conditioners last? You are not alone as we all are in the queue. It is common to think about the replacement time also. 

When we buy a central air conditioner, we see its features and quality. But after some time of using it, we get the question roaming in our mind. 

We don’t need to mention the need for an air conditioner in our life as we all already gone through the situation. It is like our friend without whom we feel something important is missing. Now, I can’t even think of living without AC. Doesn’t it give you fear to think? 

As homeowners get stressed about the lifespan of a central air conditioner, we are also getting the same thing now. And they also think of the replacement time or how much the cost would be. 

For that, we will now discuss how long do central air conditioners last and how to know the replacement time. 

how long do central air conditioners last

How Long Do Central Air Conditioners Last?

Depending on many things, central air conditioners last 15-20 years on average.

I liked the number of its lifespan. Because it is a machine and we can’t expect it to be perfect all the time. And this number is excellent and makes AC worth the cost. 

But the number can vary for specific reasons like maintenance, how you treat AC etc. We will also talk about factors.

Central AC Last Depends On Factors

Factors are everywhere behind any outcome. Central AC is also affected by some factors. These factors cause the AC units systems to grow older. 

Here are the factors mentioned below –

  1. AC Size 

Note this as the first and most important thing related to the air conditioner. We often ignore this, which causes problems later. 

If you buy a smaller sized central AC than the size your room needs, then the AC will not last longer for you. Small AC has small units which take more time to heat or cool your room. 

That indicates that the AC will have to work more than required, affecting the lifespan fast. 

And if your HVAC unit is larger than the room’s requirement, then it will often turn on or off, which is not a good sign at all. 

  1. Thermostat

The Thermostat plays a vital role in your central AC longevity, which you need to know. 

If you don’t change the temperature often, it will help the AC grow older. Keeping the same temperature in a season is a good option.           

And if you install the thermostat in a place where it gets the sunlight or light from outside directly, it will get the wrong information about temperature, which frequently causes changes in the thermostat.       

  1. Installation 

Installing the central AC by a professional or expert HVAC technician is a vital need to last your AC longer. 

But you can DIY if you want. But we prefer an expert to do it. We can agree on what tricks and ways an expert technician knows we don’t. 

  1. Maintenance  

Maintenance is an important factor in this regard. Not taking care of that AC causes shorter longevity. 

Central AC can get any problem like leakage, compressor problem, etc. which you don’t get without looking at it or taking care. 

Also, AC works slowly when it has a dust problem. This problem does not let the AC filter air properly. 

  1. Using Process       

Many of us left the central AC turned on while we were not in the room. It is not needed to use it then, but we do it frequently. 

Machines are also like humans. The more you work, the more you will get tired. If you use it in this way, it will work more and have a shorter lifespan. 

Read more: Is There A Filter In A Central Air Conditioner? (Answer Revealed)

How To Know The Replacement Time?

As we got to know the factors now, it is time to get more information about the replacement time. 

Replacement is required when you will get these problems written below –   

  1. Not Working Like Before 

It is the first sign that you will get. Even we can’t work like we started as we get tired. Central AC is also like us though it is a machine. But machines also get tired in their way, and they can’t operate functions like before.   

  1. Older Than 12 Years 

We know AC lasts for 15-20 years on average. So it is obvious for an AC not to operate properly after 12 years. 

It will go through many circumstances like repairing, leakage, etc.  

  1. Air Flow Not Working For Fans

The reason you are not getting proper air flow are fans not working. Sometimes you get too much heating or cooling, and sometimes you will not get that much as you need. 

When you notice that your AC is not giving the same air as it used to, you should check the fans. 

If the fans get scraped in the unit, it will cause air flow problems.  

  1. Often Requires Repairing  

Are you facing the repairing problem frequently?     

When your AC gets older, it will have more problems with it. You need to repair the leakage, blocked vents, fans, etc. 

You are repairing it, again and again, still not getting rid of it? 

Then it is time for you to replace your central AC, because the old things create more problems.      

  1. More Electricity Problems   

This is a little bit scary to describe. When your AC is older, it will cause some sudden electricity problems. 

It can cause a short circuit or an electrical fire due to the errors in the units. 

So, get it checked by a technician after 10-years of using it. If the problem goes too far, then you should replace your central AC for your safety.    

  1. Breakdown of Compressor    

Compressor, heat exchanger, motor, etc. can break down all of a sudden after the AC is older. It causes multiple breakdowns then. 

When regular maintenance can not stop the breakdowns, replace your AC.   

  1. AC Makes Sudden Noises 

Ahh, it is so awful when AC makes noises while working. The noises are like grinding something inside the AC, or some noises are  beyond description. 

These noises are a reminder of serious AC problems to you. So, you should be prepared to replace your AC.  

  1. Bad Smell From AC   

Are you having some bad smell from your AC? 

This smell is smokey, moldy or musty, reminding you to check your AC. 

Also, Carbon Monoxide is released by AC if there is a major complication rising inside, which is so harmful to us. Releasing the gas indicates leakage.   

Call an expert, and your central AC should be replaced immediately.   

  1. No Energy Saving Efficiency 

Old central AC loses its efficiency of power saving. Because now it takes more time to operate and works slowly. 

This process consumes more power, and AC has no hope for power-saving.  

So, these are the signs for how to know replacement time. There are more, but above mentioned are the most common and effective ones to alert you.

Read more: Where Is The Condenser Coil Located On A Central Air Conditioner?

Old Central AC Uses More Electricity

We also got shocked, like you, when we heard about it. And guess what? An old central air conditioner uses more electricity as it gets older. That means the more AC gets older, the more it uses electricity. 

For this, the electricity bill goes up gradually every month. And you must be thinking of sudden changes in electricity bill. 

But there are some reasons why old central AC uses more electricity. 

Let’s look at them –

  • Compressors become older with the AC,

and they cannot consume the same amount of electricity as before. 

  • As anything gets older,

its efficiency also decreases with time. 

  • We compare its quality with the quality it gave in earlier.

However, all of us know that a new thing has new materials of great quality, but the old stuff has older materials that may not work properly. 

For these reasons related to old central AC, we are charged with more electricity bills. So, from now on, you don’t need to be tense about why your electricity bill is growing. Just look upon your old central AC. 

will my air conditioner fall out window

Way To Amplify Central Air Conditioners Lifespan

As we already see what affects central air conditioners’ lifespan, we can guess how to amplify their lifespan.     

Didn’t get me? Okay, let me explain. 

When we invest in something, what do we do most? We care for it, maintain it to be perfect, or treat it as our family. Then we can get the best result if we care like this. 

Central AC is also like an investment. We invest in it to get heating and cooling service, fresh air and a few more regarding the room temperature. 

  • That’s why we need to take care of the AC to get the best service from it.

In a word – proper maintenance is all it needs. By doing this, we get to know if the AC is having any problem or not. And we can prevent or fix that before it is too late. 

We get to know if the central AC needs to be cleaned through maintenance. Then we can clean its inside and outside unit and prevent the errors caused by dust. 

Cleaning the AC is good for its efficiency.      

  • One most important thing is to get an exact measure of AC before buying.

As we saw earlier, it affects the lifespan of the central AC. 

  • You need to take care of the thermostat placement.

It would be best to not place it in direct sunlight or exposure-getting area. 

  • It won’t cost you more to install the central AC with an expert technician.

So, you should take the help of a professional. It will cost you but help you more to expand the lifespan of central AC.   

  • It is not needed to turn on the central AC when no one is in the room.

Turn it off while getting out of the room. Your AC will work less in this way and it is a benefit in amplifying the central air conditioner’s longevity.        

Therefore, this maintenance works as a plus to amplify the lifespan of air conditioners. 

Replace Or Repair?

“Replace or repair?” this question we get when the consumers are confused too much. 

There are some tricks to know if your central AC needs to be replaced or repaired. They are here for you mentioned below – 


In my opinion, if your central AC is already 15+ years old and has the problems mentioned above, then you must replace your AC. Because with this time, the units and the machines in AC are already used for excessive time.

You can understand easily that they won’t work like before even if you repair them.   


If you are getting the same service as before by repairing the broken units, you should repair them. 

But remember the age of your central AC. If it is below 12-15 years, then you can go with the option repair. 

Isn’t it a great deal to have the same service by repairing them?   

Cost of Replacement

Replacement cost can be huge to you as it changes the unit you want or the whole unit. And as you bought the central AC before, you should have the knowledge of how it would cost to replace the units. 

Don’t get stressed now. The average cost is about $4,500 to $12,000.  This cost depends on your AC size, units you want to replace, brands, the quality you require, etc. So, you can lessen the cost if you wish.    

Repair Cost 

You will be relieved to know that repair cost is cheaper than replacement cost as it repairs only the unit that is broken or not working. 

For this, the cost can be $2000 to repair the unit.   


Today, “How long do central air conditioners last?” was our discussing topic, and we got to know such information regarding this. Central AC can last longer if you maintain the ways regularly. 

If you treat central air conditioners in good ways, it is your profit to use the AC more for years. 

Who doesn’t want the AC to get a longer lifespan?       

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